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UNLICENSED ACTIVITY IN THE NEWS

 

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February 2015

11 arrested in undercover sting targeting unlicensed contractors in Manatee

02/14/15 www.bradenton.com

MANATEE, Fla. - An undercover sting operation targeting unlicensed contractors and contractors without workers' compensation insurance in Manatee County resulted in 11 arrests, the Florida Department of Financial Services said Friday. The three-day operation was a multi-agency effort that included the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Holmes Police Department and manatee County Code Enforcement.

 

Builder accused of scamming a couple out of $80,000 confronted

02/13/15 www.actionnewsjax.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A builder accused of scamming $80,000 from a couple was tracked down by Action News. Jack and Donna Cheek handed over $80,000 to have  their retirement home built. The Cheeks said that last May they wrote the check to Marvin Lenhart of Lenhart Log Cabins Inc. and their home was supposed to be built in August 2014. However, a lawsuit filed by the couple says Lenhart left town, cashing the check in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

 

Tracking down Tampa Bay's shady contractors

02/05/15 www.wfla.com

TAMPA, Fla. - Jane and Dennis Thomas say contractor Michael Baker made a good impression on them when they first approached him to build a bedroom addition onto their rural home in Citrus County through his company Bake Construction & Management, LLC. They just happened to see the sign on his truck during a visit to Ocala and gave him a call. The Thomas' say they did some cursory background checks and didn't uncover any red flags, so they signed a deal October 10 for Baker to build a $65,920 master bedroom and bathroom addition.

Boca Raton woman says contractor walked off job

02/02/15 www.local10.com

BOCA RATON, Fla. - When Susan Sabatino saw a "Call Christina" investigation about a contractor walking out on an older couple, the story was all too familiar. "(It was) exactly to the letter what he had said to me," she said, referencing Alejandro Morlans of Alex Millwork, Inc. "My heart -- you're hurting my heart. You're a terrible person. I'm a good person.' He was demented."

January 2015

17 Unlicensed contractors caught in Broward County sting

01/24/15

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) participated in a multi-agency undercover sting operation on January 21 – 22 targeting unlicensed contractors in Broward County. Working together with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Broward County Licensing Investigations & Enforcement and the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, investigators identified 17 unlicensed contractors who were allegedly offering estimates for contracting services which require a Florida license.

 

Unlicensed contracting investigation in Brevard nets four arrests

01/16/15 www.floridatoday.com

MELBOURNE, Fla. - An investigation conducted by a host of agencies produced four arrests on Thursday. According to a release from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, the BCSO Economics Crime Unit along with the Board of County Commissioners Planning & Development, the Florida Workers' Compensation Fraud Division and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, conducted a two-day investigation targeting unlicensed contractors in Brevard County on Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Sheriff's Operation Targets Unlicensed Contractors

01/16/15 www.spacecoastdaily.com

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Over the past two days, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Economics Crimes Unit partnered with the Board of County Commissioners Planning & Development, the Florida Workers' Compensation Fraud Division and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to conduct a county-wide investigation to identify and address unlicensed contractors.

December 2014

Unlicensed contractor leaves New Port Richey woman in a mess

12/10/14 www.wfla.com

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) - A New Port Richey woman is outraged that her insurance company paid $39,000 for repairs to her kitchen, and now the company she thought she paid placed a lien against her for nonpayment. A small fire ruined Michelle Bell's kitchen in April, so she hired MIT Restoration LLC to repair it.

 

Handyman ruins remodeling job, family's holiday spirit

12/5/14 www.firstcoastnews.com

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - A Clay County family hired a handyman to remodel their home and what he did is less than expected. "He did not complete the work," said Connie Croston. "He left a mess." In October, Croston hired the unlicensed contractor based on a recommendation from her lawn service; not unusual but now she knows it was not the best practice.

 

44 unlicensed contractors issued Notices to Cease and Desist in recent sting operations

12/4/14

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) participated in three multi-agency undercover sting operations targeting unlicensed contractors in Miami Gardens, Pasco County and Sarasota. Investigators identified a total of 44 unlicensed contractors who were allegedly offering estimates for contracting services which require a Florida license.

November 2014

11 people accused of working as unlicensed contractors in Pasco

tbo.com 11/24/14

NEW PORT RICHEY — The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office on Monday announced that 11 people posing as contractors have been arrested in a recent sting.

 

Unlicensed contractor sting comes with warning from deputies

www.lakerlutznews.com 11/24/14

PASCO COUNTY - A two-day sting between the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and some state regulatory agencies have put 11 people behind bars they say were unlicensed contractors in the county.

 

Miami Gardens sting snares 14 unlicensed individuals

11/21/14

MIAMI - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) participated in a multi-agency undercover sting operation on November 20-21 targeting unlicensed contractors in the Miami Gardens area. Investigators identified 14 unlicensed contractors who were allegedly offering estimates for contracting services which require a Florida license.

 

20 arrested in unlicensed contractor sting

www.heraldtribune.com 11/18/14

SARASOTA COUNTY - Twenty people were arrested in a recent Sarasota County Sheriff's Office investigation targeting unlicensed contractors. Called Operation Freelancer, the investigation was conducted Nov. 13 - 15, according to the Sheriff's Office.

 

State: Craigslist plumber breaking the law

www.clickorlando.com 11/10/14

OVIEDO, Fla. - The owner of an Oviedo plumbing company has been operating without a license in Central Florida at least since 2011 and is now facing "escalated enforcement" by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, along with possible criminal charges and fines.

October 2014

PD: 6 arrested in Volusia County unlicensed contracting sting

www.wesh.com 10/03/2014

Orange City, Fla. - Six men are accused of running an illegal contracting business in Volusia County, according to the Orange City Police Department. Three law enforcement agencies worked together to arrest the men allegedly performing unlicensed contracting work, police said.

September 2014

Man accused of defrauding 25 condo owners in Lake Park

www.sun-sentinel.com 9/12/2014

LAKE PARK, Fla. -- An unlicensed contractor has been arrested on charges he defrauded 25 condo residents out of more than $100,000, according to a Palm Beach County sheriff's arrest report.

 

Anthony Violi, 47, of Royal Palm Beach, was taken into custody Wednesday after an investigator said residents at Lake Harbour Towers in lake Park paid for impact windows that were never installed.

 

State regulatory agency conducts construction sting in Jacksonville

09/25/14

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Jacksonville Investigative Office conducted an undercover sting operation on September 11 – 15 targeting unlicensed contractors. Nine individuals provided estimates for construction and/or electrical services that they do not hold the proper license to perform.

August 2014

Contractor questioned over spotty record

www.wtsp.com 8/28/2014

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Bay area man has a pattern of money and leaving customers, and other contractors, in a bind, according to 10 News. Jeremy Howden tells 10 News there are a lot of reasons why he's had problems with his jobs, from financial woes to issues with other construction workers.

 

LCSO "Operation Freeloader" nets 14 unlicensed contractors

www.winknews.com 8/15/14

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Beginning on August 12, 2014, members of the Lee County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit conducted an operation targeting unlicensed contractors in Lee County.

 

During the three day operation, 14 people were arrested for unlicensed contracting. Additionally, many of the individuals failed to have required workers' compensation insurance or a required exemption and were additionally charged with a violation of workers' compensation laws.

July 2014

Scams Galore

www.flanews.com 7/11/14

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - There are plenty of scam artists trying to take advantage of people around the state this summer.

 

Property Improvements and the 'Contractor'

www.thedestinlog.com 7/18/14

DESTIN, Fla. - If you pay someone to improve your home, either by tearing part of it down, improving an existing structure or building an addition, that person or entity is generally considered to be acting as a "Contractor" by the Florida Construction Licensing Board.

June 2014

Unlicensed contractors arrested in Venice sting, police report

www.heraldtribune.com 6/20/14

Venice, Fla -Sixteen unlicensed contractors were arrested were arrested during a three-day undercover sting operation that ended Thursday, police report.

When hurricanes come, don't get scammed

The Laker/Lutz News 6/2/14

Land O'Lakes, Fla. - With hurricane season now under way, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation is reminding consumers, businesses and professionals to protect themselves following a natural disaster by hiring only licensed professionals to perform necessary repairs.

May 2014

Homeowners warned against hiring unlicensed contractors

WTSP 5/30/14

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Hurricane season is just two days away. If you're planning on getting work done to your home, the state wants you to get it done with a licensed professional.

 

Big risks involved with unlicensed AC repairmen

WMKG 5/20/14

Orlando, Fla. - Colen Thomas and his wife thought they were getting a great deal on a new air conditioner unit in their Tavares home.

 

Ken Lawson: Keep swimming pools safe

The Gainesville Sun 5/13/14

Gainesville, Fla. - For thousands of Floridians, swimming pools and spas are places for families to spend time together and have fun. As we recognize National Water Safety Month, it’s important to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe in and around pools and spas. Although it’s important to make sure that everyone knows how to swim and perform CPR, safety measures begin at construction. 

 

Be cautious when hiring contractors

guflbreezenews.com 5/9/14

Gulf Breeze, Fla. - Confirm that the contractor you choose is licensed to do business in Florida. You can verify a contractor’s license and check to see if there are any complaints against him or her by calling the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You should also ask the contractor for references from previous work.

 

Storm victims beware potential scams

www.wtxl.com 5/1/14

Tallahassee, Fla. - A state agency is asking storm victims to be on guard and aware of potential scams. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is urging consumers to protect themselves from unlicensed workers offering to make repairs to their homes or businesses. 

 

DBPR to Consumers: Protect Yourself Following a Storm

www.wctv.com 5/1/14

Tallahassee, Fla. - On April 30, 2014, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties across Florida due to heavy rainfall and flooding. As a result of the declaration, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is urging consumers to protect themselves from unlicensed individuals offering to make repairs on their homes or businesses.

April 2014

14 arrested in unlicensed contractor sting

www.news4jax.com 4/29/14

St. Johns County, Fla. - The suspects are accused of falsely identifying themselves as contractors, and a 15th suspect was charged with possession of cannabis.

 

Operation targeting unlicensed contractors in St. Johns County nets 15 arrests

www.jacksonville.com 4/29/14

A St. Johns County sting targeting unlicensed contractors ended with 15 arrests Monday and Tuesday after the men bid on repairs then showed up to do the work.

 

SJSO busts 14 unlicensed contractors

www.wokv.com 4/29/14

A two-week undercover sting has resulted in 15 arrests in St. Johns County.

 

Sting of unlicensed contractors nets 26

www.sun-sentinel.com 4/29/14

A joint state and county sting of unlicensed contractors netted 26 tradesmen, some of whom had been cited before, the Broward sheriff's office said.

 

BSO arrests 30 people in unlicensed contractor sting

www.local10.com 4/29/14

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - Thirty people were arrested following a Broward Sheriff's Office investigation into unlicensed contractors committing fraud throughout the county. Several state and local agencies collaborated with BSO in the two-day operation last week.

 

No A/C permit is not cool and leaves owner on the hook

www.news-press.com 4/16/14

FT. MYERS , Fla. - Keeping a home in two places can be challenging. As snowbirds know, you need someone you can trust to look out for your northern home when you’re in Southwest Florida and someone to look out for the Florida house when you’re up north.

 

Fifteen issued cease and desist notices in Tallahassee construction sting

4/15/14

The DBPR Tallahassee Regional II Office conducted a construction sting March 25 -27. Fifteen suspects showed up at the undercover house and proposed to provide construction services, which included the removal and replacement of windows, removal and installation of a hot water heater and the removal and installation of an air conditioning system. 

 

Seven issued cease and desist notices in Duval County construction sting

4/8/14

The DBPR Jacksonville Regional III Office conducted a construction sting that consisted of roofing and HVAC advertisements on Craig’s List.

 

Unlicensed contractor busted for 3rd time

www.myfoxtampabay.com 4/4/2014

SARASOTA, Fla. - Erin Holdgate is feeling a bit cold after learning one of the contractors at her condo complex had no license to do any of the AC work.

 

Unlicensed contractor with history of similar crimes arrested in Sarasota

www.bradenton.com 4/4/2014

SARASOTA, Fla. - An unlicensed contractor has been arrested and charged with 34 new charges by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

 

Man faces multiple counts of unlicensed contracting

www. sunnewspapers.com 4/4/2014

SARASOTA, Fla. - Authorities charged a Sarasota man Thursday with 33 felony counts of operating as an unlicensed contractor for allegedly taking thousands of dollars from a client by never pulling permits or performing any of the work, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

March 2014

DBPR launches new mobile function for reporting unlicensed activity

www.jcfloridan.com 3/27/14

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation recently launched the “Report Unlicensed Activity” function within the DBPR Mobile app, giving consumers the ability to report unlicensed activity in real time.

 

Report unlicensed business activity in real time

www.news4jax.com 3/27/14

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation now offers a way for you to report unlicensed business activity in real time.

 

DBPR launches new mobile function for reporting unlicensed activity

3/27/14

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) recently launched the “Report Unlicensed Activity” function within the DBPR Mobile app allowing consumers to report unlicensed activity in real time.

 

20 unlicensed contractors arrested in Polk County

www.wfla.com 3/7/2014

POLK COUNTY, Fla.- Polk County Sheriff's deputies went undercover to find unlicensed contractors performing work in the county.

February 2014

DBPR issues consumer advisory warning of unlicensed contractors

www.wtxl.com 2/6/2014

TALLAHASSEE (WTXL) – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) cautions consumers in the Tallahassee area to be on the lookout for unlicensed individuals who offer professional services requiring a state license. 

 

Sting nabs unlicensed contractors

www.wctv.tv 2/6/2014

TALLAHASSEE - A home on Bronough Street in Tallahassee was the site of a recent sting operation.

 

State regulation agency warns against participating in unlicensed combat sports

www.wctv.tv 2/7/2014

TALLAHASSEE - DBPR and the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC) are warning Floridians that unsanctioned combat sports events are unsafe and illegal in the state. 

 

State office issues warning about unlicensed combat sports

miamiherald.typepad.com 2/8/2014

Unlicensed combat sports are often undetected until someone files a complaint or gets hurt, so the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation has issued a cautionary note to warn consumers and amateur athletes about the dangers of these events, whether you're a participant or bystander. 

 

Polk sheriff warns of home repair scams

www.wfla.com 2/8/2014

POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is reminding residents to watch out for and report any suspicious activity involving door-to-door home repair solicitors.

 

Gainesville/Tallahassee Sting Operations
2/19/2014
Gainesville and Tallahassee stings operations.

January 2014

Catching unlicensed contractors

www.winknews.com 1/30/2014

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Our Call for Action team had been working with the city of Cape Coral for months in order to get an inside look at how unlicensed contractors get caught and now we have the exclusive video of how the city is fighting back to keep you safe.

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